I vividly remember the first time I said "I love you" to someone other than a relative or friend. It was terrifying and exciting and strange. I remember feeling like my mouth didn't know how to form the words—like I'd been hit with Novocaine by the love dentist. They rolled around on my tongue like a foreign fruit I didn't want to swallow or spit out. The only alternative was to say them.
So I did.
The funny thing was, I'd been dying to utter them for weeks. They were in there, clacking around against the back of my teeth, wanting to be shouted to my college boyfriend. But I knew I couldn't say them first. That would break the cardinal rule of dating. A girl who speaks the Big L first is likely to scare the bejeezus out of her guy and be met by a choir of chirping crickets.
I suppose this is because men think that if she drops the (aptly named) L Bomb, they are suddenly responsible for her every happiness. And man alive is that scary! If she says "I love you," she probably wants to tie you down, get pregnant, and wear sweatpants for the rest of her life—all while relying on you to make her feel joyful and pretty.
This makes me feel sorry for the L Word. Just because it has four letters doesn't mean it has to be treated like profanity. Like some word you shouldn't say at the dinner table because your guy might choke on his soup and have a minor seizure. And it shouldn't feel like gag-worthy lychee fruit when you're the one saying it, either.
It's a great word and if we could all just strip away the baggage thought to come with it, maybe there'd be more of it in the world. I'm going to start saying it more often to friends and family. And because it seems to slide more easily off the fingers than off the tongue, I'll just go ahead and tell you right now, if you're reading this blog,
I love you...